The West Must Not Appease Bashar al-Assad

No reasonable person, neither American nor Syrian, wishes to see the United States and its allies become deeply involved in the Syrian civil war, but for the western powers to fail to act now is tantamount to appeasement of a butcher of children. No one knows what will happen if we strike Syrian military targets; no one knows what will happen if we do not. That is not an argument. If the past is prologue, then Assad will continue to slaughter the people of Syria without discrimination. That much appears certain.

The confiscation of Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal does not look like a realistic proposal on its face, because the safe transfer of massive quantities of chemical weapons in a war zone would be risky and problematic at best. How will compliance be verified when it was difficult just for UN inspectors to reach a suburb of Damascus?

The French are correct to insist upon stringent preconditions before any negotiated deal with Assad on chemical weapons. The world has tolerated this monster long enough. Every person who detests war should take a hard look at the situation in the Middle East today, and then explain to themselves how a victory for Assad, Iran and Hezbollah reduces the probability of a Middle East war, one into which the United States would be inextricably drawn by its many alliances in the region. To those who believe that opposing military action against Syria is the path of peace, I respectfully ask that they think again of the likely consequences of doing nothing.

There are indeed shades of past conflicts evoked by the images of carnage in Syria. But the deja vu being experienced is not that of Iraq–which was completely different–but of another, similar atrocity that occurred at Guernica, Spain, in 1937, of another moral failure to respond, and of the results of a flawed strategy of trying to appease a monster.

On April 26,1937, bombers and fighters of the German Luftwaffe and the Italian air force attacked the small Basque village of Guernica in northern Spain. It was an outrageous assault on an unarmed civilian population. It was the blatant mass murder of hundreds of civilians, by some accounts over a thousand were killed, men, women and children.

For America in those days, neutrality was the dominant U.S. foreign policy model, enshrined in a series of congressional acts that had been designed to further and further remove the United States from the possibility of involvement in “foreign wars.” The prevailing American sentiment then, as today in regard to atrocities being committed in Syria, was that what had happened in Guernica was not our problem. It simply didn’t involve us.

Four years later, the relevance of Guernica to the security interests of the United States became more than apparent. On December 8, 1941, in the wake of a devastating attack on American naval forces at Pearl Harbor, the United States formerly declared war on imperial Japan. Three days later, war was declared on the United States by those same German and Italian fascist regimes who had bombed Guernica only four years earlier.

6 thoughts on “The West Must Not Appease Bashar al-Assad

  1. If a problem is ignored, it seems to have a way of coming back around to bite you….

    I can rest assured that this killing will at least be in the public eye.

    There’s a lot of ignorance and misinformation about Syria. Maybe UN peacekeepers and inspectors can eventually get the chemicals.

    I still don’t trust Putin or Assad to agree to anything. They may be stalling as usual.

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    1. Exactly. Americans have always, always disliked wars. There were riots in New York City over the Civil War draft. There were protests throughout the country against American involvement in the Great War.
      Americans were so opposed to getting involved in “foreign wars” that Nazi Germany took over Europe, North Africa, half of Russia, and were sinking ships in New York Harbor. U-boats were cruising the Caribbean Sea. Japan had overrun the Philippines, invaded China, and conquered much of Southeast Asia. Evil had taken over half of the world. The Germans were sending millions of innocent people to execution chambers, and meanwhile, the Japanese were torturing, raping and murdering millions more throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean rims. Still, Americans didn’t want to get involved. So, how exactly did that work out for us?

      Yeah, let’s ignore Syria. Maybe the nightmare will just go away

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  2. I’m surprised at the left for their absolute refusal to get involved in the plight of the Syrian people. I think it’s made me become an Independent, or at least more moderate.

    When People have suffered as long as the Syrians, they deserve to be heard.

    I’m hoping that a representative of the FSA will be able to address congress, or make a plea at the UN.

    Some on the left are heartless in their desire to stay out of any conflict. Just a thought.

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      1. I agree. I guess there’s some hypocracy in every stance. The selfishness is kind of what gets me. We got ours so to heck with the rest of the world. I can’t buy into that. People all over the world seeking democracy and we should be the model, but instead we show our selfishness and greed. If Syria achieves democracy, they may not know exactly what it looks like, but as the Egyptians found out…they know what it isn’t.

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